Monday, August 6, 2012

The Buhingie--A Tale of Reality

Once upon a time, there was a people called the Buhingie. The Buhingie lived in a remote part of the rain forest of the Amazon. They lived so deep in the forest that there was no contact with modern society. The Buhingie called themselves "The People."

The People knew only the forest; they had their hunting, fishing, and gathering of food, and dancing and artwork and rituals of thanks to the bounty of the forest, but no cell phones, no TV, no electricity, and no knowledge of anything outside of their own society. The wisemen of the People told stories of a world where men rode around in strange boxes that you didn't have to push or pull, instead of walking in the forest; where families lived not in the forest but in boxes all lined up on hard, hot trails where there were no animals except some dogs and cats who lived in the boxes too. The Trailmen, as they were called, didn't dance or hunt, or gather food, but they believed in worshipping pieces of paper and metal, and all they did was to trade these back and forth and carry stuff back and forth to their boxes.

The People pitied the poor Trailmen, who didn't know the beauty of the forest. They thought that the Trailmen must have been very primitive, to worship something so silly as paper or metal, instead of the Ancient Power of nature and the forest. The People were glad the Trailmen were only stories. They continued living the way the People had always lived--hunting and fishing and gathering food, and walking in the forest, and raising their children, and dancing and making art, and laughing and being grateful for their big beautiful forest, and for the Ancient Power that had given it all to the People, and they all lived happily ever after.

Ok, so now that you know the story of the Buhingie, I'd like to invite you to think about something. Reality, for a Buhingie, would be the forest and the People and the animals and their dancing and rituals and art and families. They didn't know about war, or cell phones, or theater shootings, or 9/11, or gang violence, or Walmart, or the Fed. They lived and died knowing only their peaceful world. Their reality was different from ours, right?

So, now think about this. What if the Buhingie story didn't end there? What if one day, a Buhingie named Bob wandered a bit further than usual from home, and ran across a bulldozer, clearing forest for a new banana plantation? "Reality" suddenly changes, doesn't it? What we "know" IS our reality, and it can change as quickly as we can change our mind.

So, once reality changes for hapless Buhingie Bob, what if he goes back to the People and tells them all about the new reality he found in the forest?  Then their reality changes, too--instantly.  

But if Buhingie Bob, appalled at what he sees, runs headlong into the construction project to try to save the trees, and he's run over by the bulldozer, then he never makes it back to the People, and they believe he's just gone--killed in an accident in the forest as sometimes happens--and their "reality" remains unchanged. Peaceful, bucolic, happy, and the Trailmen are just a story, a myth about some crazy society that has no forest and worships paper. Reality is nothing more than what we think we know about our surroundings.

So what if we changed what we know? What if we just said, 
yeah, yeah...there's all that bad stuff. But I know we can make it better. We can be kinder, more accepting, more loving. No, not WE...I.... I can make it better. I can be kinder, more accepting, more loving. I can quit dividing myself from others based on race, or how much money they have, or where they were born, or how they view God, or whatever. I can see those "others" as just like me, just other parts of a whole. I can forgive those other parts for being a problem, because hating them makes about as much sense as hating your foot when it hurts.

Well, first of all--the moment that I decide that I can do something to change the world--I've succeeded.  The world now has one less victim and one more activist, so the world has changed.   I've taken a touch of responsibility for my own experience in the world, and so I've changed too.  I created a new time-line in which I'm a 'do-er' instead of a 'do-ee.'  A shift in reality, due to one idea.

Not only that, but when I act upon my decision, even in a small way, I change the world a little more.  Maybe I write a blog that a few people read, and maybe something I say makes them think differently about some part of their lives.  And maybe they make their own new do-er timelines too.

Or maybe I do something that a victim doesn't do, but an activist does. I write a letter to a politician, or change the bank I do business with, or help someone struggling to get their groceries into their car.  And maybe someone notices the thing I do and that changes their reality, just a little.  And maybe that person decides to do one thing differently because of their shifted reality, and that changes even more.   Do you see?  I begin changing the world by changing my mind.  I actually create a different reality every time I change a mind--my own or someone else's. 

In this blog, I've often talked about changing the world, and I suspect that some, or many, of you have thought something like, "yeah, that's all well and good, but it's all just inspirational tripe.  Nothing's really going to change from all this happy talk and unicorns and rainbows.  We've got too many problems, and people are too evil and stupid, and it's all bound to end badly."    To any of you saying, "yep, that's exactly right," here's my response:

Just like the Buhingie, reality is only what we think we know.  So we're all going to get the reality we expect.  And we're all going to live in the world we create. Create a good one for yourself.

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